The Old Scouring Mill

Old scouring mill
The original drawing is an inch and a half, 4cm, across.

I’ve drawn the old scouring mill at Horbury Bridge several times this year, not because I’m particularly interested in the old buildings but because of the attraction of overlooking the mill, scribbling in my sketchbook as we wait for coffee and croissants at Di Bosco, just across the road.

Overlooking and scribbling . . . (with apologies for that terrible link) . . .

‘Scribbling Overlooker’

Arthur Pearson, a scribbling overlooker, worked in one of the woollen mills at Horbury Bridge until shortly before the start of World War I, when he started working for a large woollen cloth manufacturer in Freiburg, Bohemia. After getting into an argument about the Emperor and the Kaiser in the local barber’s, he was interned from March 1915 until December 1918, when he made his way back to Yorkshire.

Speaking to a reporter from the Leeds Mercury, he said that in Vienna ‘food and clothing were only purchasable by the very rich people; in fact, money at times could not buy food, and he had seen gold watches given in exchange for a loaf of black bread.’

Tea was selling at £2 per lb, salmon 30 shillings a tin, jam 25 shillings per jar and rice £2 per lb. A suit of clothes sold for anything from £80 to £120, but, Mr Pearson noticed, ‘the cloth was of very poor quality’.

Scribbling was the initial process of combing the wool prior to spinning it into yarn.

Casualty Lists

War Office Casualty lists for 8 October 1918, a little over a month before the end of hostilities, listed Private B Clark, 46532, of Horbury, who was serving in the Durham Light Infantry. In the previous month Private J Heald, 40981, of Horbury Bridge was listed as a casualty on the 10th.

In June two soldiers from Horbury Bridge had been listed as casualties, Private W H Osterfield, 48495, of the West Yorkshire Regiment and Private D Hall, 242319, of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

Weaners

At Charlotte’s Ice Cream Parlour, the piglets are getting to the stage where they’d be better being separated from the sow. She’s getting increasingly irritated by the continual rough-and-tumble of her nine little porkers.

Rough-and-tumble except for the numerous occasions when they’re taking a break.

Rhea

Rhea eggs laid in the paddock in May.

Two of the rhea eggs in the incubator at Charlotte’s have hatched, although we haven’t yet had the chance to see the chicks as they have to stay in there for a while. Rhea eggs are large but, even so it’s surprising how large the chicks are – about a foot tall apparently – so, they must have been well folded up in there.

Quails

In the lovebird aviary, a female quail is being pursued by an insistent male. He keeps grabbing her by the feathers of her nape so she’s starting to look a little the worse for wear.

The View from the Café

On Sunday morning when I drew the old scouring mill at Horbury Bridge from the Di Bosco Café, the temperature was climbing to 81°F, 27°C, so it was good to have the shade of their well-ventilated conservatory to draw in.

Yesterday, Monday, afternoon, I drew a buddleia-dotted development site through the open doors of Create Café, Wakefield One. The hoarding advertises the adjacent Merchant Gate development of flats, steak house and offices as ‘diverse & striking’. They seem to have given up on the ‘vibrant hub’ slogan.

Cushions in an armchair at Barbara’s brother’s.

The Old Scouring Mill, Horbury Bridge

After sorting and blending, the first stage in preparing raw wool is scouring: washing in hot water. The old scouring mill at Horbury Bridge is a reminder of the Victorian heyday of the West Riding woollen industry, when there were several large woollen mills at Horbury Bridge.

The mill closed long ago and is divided into units, some of them workshops with the one facing the road housing an antiques and second-hand furniture store.

Di Bosco coffee & champagne bar

I drew it from a table in the conservatory in Di Bosco, the coffee and champagne bar, which opened yesterday. Workers from the scouring mill must have drunk here often but at that time it would have been ale and porter, as this building was originally The Ship Inn, which dated back to at least the time that Sabine Baring Gould wrote Onward Christian Soldiers at Horbury Bridge. In 1865 he set up his mission headquarters in a terraced house, which still exists, midway between the Ship and the Horse & Jockey.

He certainly entertained decidedly un-Christian thoughts towards these two public houses, in particular the Horse & Jockey which, in his novel Through Fire and Flood, he has washed away in flash flood of epic proportions which cascades down the Calder Valley like a CGI sequence from  a disaster movie.

In reality it survived and it now has a good reputation for resident chef Michael Oldroyd’s traditional Yorkshire food and, sorry about this Sabine, the landlord’s traditional Yorkshire beers.

Link

Di Bosco coffee and champagne bar

Michael Oldroyd’s Nostalgic Kitchen at the Horse & Jockey